Softball off to best start in over a decade


Sophia Godzak, ’25, squares a ball up into right field last year during a conference game.

The Allegheny softball team is off to an impressive start this season. The team boasts an 8-4 record which they earned during their spring trip to Florida from March 4-10. The southern climate sent the Gators on a hot streak; the softball team currently holds their best record in the beginning of a new campaign since 2012. The team now has high hopes to continue their early success, with conference play right around the corner.

Allegheny played a range of competition from all across the country. They opened the season against Gordon College from Massachusetts, narrowly edging their opponent 10-9. After trailing 7-9 going into the seventh inning, the team put up a three spot and walked it off thanks to Hadley Horensky, ’23, scoring on a wild pitch.

“They did a good job of picking each other up,” said Head Coach Beth Curtiss. “We are still young, but experienced, and I think the experience provides resilience.”

The chaos continued throughout the next several games, including three consecutive extra-inning affairs, in which the Gators won the first two of them. After dropping the last, the team rebounded immediately for their most dominating victory of the trip, taking down Bluffton University 7-0.

Everyone was given an off day on March 8, and then the team again found themselves in another heated battle versus Concordia University Chicago the next afternoon. The Gators again came away victorious after eight innings of play when they scored two runs in the top of the last frame, and sealed the deal after holding the Cougars to one run in the bottom half.

“I thought we played really well,” said Sophia Godzak, ’25. “We played in 80 degree weather the whole time (with) no rain and we played on these clay fields. It was just great to be back on the dirt again.”

Godzak is ranked among the team’s best at the plate this year. She has a .410 batting average, swinging it from the right side, and has the most hits on the roster. Her sturdy play earned her the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week award on March 6, and she has been a force to be reckoned with in her sophomore year.

Godzak’s family was in Florida to watch her play. While in the car together on their way to dinner, Godzak received a call from Curtiss giving her the good news.

“It was super awesome and exciting, and I was not expecting it,” Godzak said. “My mom was like, ‘oh my gosh!’ and they were all super excited about it.”

The award was given to Godzak after she displayed tremendous control with the stick throughout the first four games beginning the season. In the first two contests, she tallied six hits in eight trips to the dish, also accumulating three RBI’s and a double, which led to a pair of Allegheny wins.

She became a regular starter toward the end of last season, and has not looked back since. Godzak has put in countless hours in the cage, which has contributed to her triumph. Seeing regular time as a designated hitter this year, all of her attention has been on her swing. The process of becoming a good hitter has been in the making for years, though. Godzak has been working with a hitting coach since high school, which, she said, is when she started making major improvements and setting good habits.

The Gators lineup has a lot of talent, including team captain Isabelle Wakefield, ’23. She continues to be a leader for the Gators, and her presence brings a great atmosphere to the group.
During the 2021 season, she dominated on the field as just a freshman, which earned her a spot on the All-NCAC East team. Last year, she dealt with a health issue that was mentally and physically draining. Wakefield was still able to be a regular starter, despite her personal battle, and has always been a team player.

“I just want to put my best foot forward at every practice,” Wakefield said. “My goal is to just keep the energy up, to get people to feel like this is important and this is where they should be.”

Energy is what Wakefield and the team preaches. As one of the leaders on the team, she is always giving 100 percent of what she has, making her glove one of the best in the conference. It has also earned Wakefield respect from her coaches and teammates.

“She is mature beyond her years,” Curtiss said. “She is just a really good human being, and she is a great role model to her teammates. Situationally, she knows what needs to be done, and she is someone you can count on to know how to handle things out there.”

This is Wakefield’s last season suiting up. She is not only a weapon on the field for Allegheny, but also in the classroom as her cap and gown will be coming early. Wakefield matriculated with the Class of 2024, but has worked hard to complete her courses and transferred credits over from high school to be able to save a semester of academics and money.

She plans to leave it all out on the field. Without becoming too involved in the outcome of her statistics, she wants to perform well and enjoy every moment she has left in the sport she loves.
“It has not really hit me yet,” Wakefield said. “I am not really thinking about ‘this is my last season and I have to do amazing.’ Just taking every at bat and every chance in the field that I have, and treating it like that could be the last one and just using it the best I can.”

Allegheny was scheduled to play in a doubleheader against Denison University on March 18. However, the weather had other plans that postponed the games. They will open up conference play in the swamp this Sunday, March 26, in a doubleheader versus Bethany College.

The Gators are coming into their new conference with a chip on their shoulder. After being ranked seventh in the pre-season polls, they have something to prove with hopes of hoisting the conference trophy at the end of the year.